27th April 2015
Labour’s rent control announcements, including plans to cap rents so they cannot rise beyond the rate of inflation in certain tenancies, have been slammed by the Liberal Democrats.
The party described them as “ill thought through and will make things even worse for tenants”.
Labour has proposed to cap rent increases at the level of inflation and that standard three-year contracts should be put in place in a bid to stop tenants being “ripped off”.
Labour party Leader Ed Miliband asserted they would also give tenants the right to know what rent their predecessors had paid.
But Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson said it was a “disastrous policy” which would ultimately result in reducing housing supply.
The Liberal Democrats asserted that rather than reduce rents, Labour’s plans will lead to huge rent hikes every three years, higher rents overall and fewer available rental properties.
Labour say they want to help ‘Generation Rent’ but the party pointed out that even charity ‘Generation Rent’ has slammed the plans, saying they won’t bring down rents and will incentivise landlords to evict tenants.
Housing expert Henry Pryor commented: “Don’t be taken in by Labour rent controls, it won’t make it cheaper, increase supply” but “it will distort the market”.
The Liberal Democrats urged that the only way to keep rents under control and stop house prices from spiralling is to follow its plans to build 300,000 new homes.
Liberal Democrat campaign spokesperson Lord Paddick said Labour’s plans are “ill thought through and will make things even worse for tenants”.
He added: “Rather than reduce rents, Labour’s plans will lead to huge rent hikes every three years, higher rents overall and fewer available rental properties. Labour consistently failed to support house building in government and their inaction left millions struggling to pay their rent.
“Instead of announcing unworkable, populist policy, Labour should be straight with the public about the fact that they will simply not build the homes we desperately need.”
Robert Bartlett, the chief executive of London based estate agent Chestertons also issued a word of caution, according to property website Zoopla.
He said: “While we welcome the aim of a fairer, more transparent and accessible rented sector, the main factor behind rising rents is that the available supply of good quality homes is being outstripped by rising demand,” Bartlett explained.
“If a lot of new legislation is imposed on landlords quickly and without proper consultation, there is a real danger that properties may actually be withdrawn from the market, which will only serve to exacerbate the very problems the new laws seek to address.”